Learn to say “Bom dia”, “Obrigado/Obrigada” and “Me desculpe” which mean “Good morning”, “Thank you” and “Excuse me”.These few words will get you far so learn to say them well because you will use them often. “Bom dia” to the downstairs neighbors, to the baker at the coffee shop you go to each morning for a sweet roll and café au lait, to the old lady who sits on the stoop with her dog. “Obrigado” to the gentleman stranger who helps you find the bus stop. “Obrigada” to the perfectly charming woman who tells you it’s easier to reach your destination by Metro. “Me desculpe” to the young man you bumped into and almost topple over when the metro turns a little to sharply or brakes a little too hard.
In a city the size of Lisbon we knew we wouldn’t have much trouble speaking English and we didn’t but it’s good to learn a few words or phrases. It’s nice to know a little bit of what is being said to you too and the locals seem to be appreciate the effort you made to learn a little of their language.
In Portugal, unless it is an animated movie, every movie has subtitles. So if you want to see a movie here, you won’t have problems with the language.
Almost all the theaters are localized in shopping centers. Some have subway connection: Colégio Militar (blue line); El Corte Inglês (blue/red line); Saldanha (yellow/red line); Campo Pequeno (yellow line); Oriente (red line).
Schedules and movies on theaters are online on the site below
Museums in Portugal close at Monday and on the most important holidays (1st January, Easter Sunday, 1st of May and 25th December). There are some exceptions like St Jorge Castle or Oceanário, but most of them are closed.
A lot of museums are free on Sunday mornings and holidays and Museu do Oriente is free from 6 pm to 10 pm at Fridays.
The best is to check the websites of the museums you want to visit to check if these rules apply.
Azulejos are colourful ceramic tiles which are very popular in Portugal for decoration puposes.
You find them inside and outside of houses, public buildings, monuments or metro stations.
They often show geometric designs or images. Azulejos were brought to Portugal by the Moors in the 8th century.
Although originally a pagan and folk festival, Carnival marks the start of Lent. The high
point of the Portuguese festival is on February 24th, Carnival day, although there are parades, dances and festivities throughout the week featuring famous stars from the world of
Portuguese and Brazilian show business.
Amongst the main Carnival festivities in the Lisboa Region, one of the highlights is the Loures Carnival – a folk carnival – and one of the oldest. This carnival features the famous Cegadas, the Mastronças parade and the traditional Enterro do Entrudo on Ash Wednesday. In this region it is also known as Enterro do Bacalhau (Burial of the Cod) and symbolizes the end of Carnival and the festivities.
To the north of Lisboa there is also the famous Torres Vedras Carnival, described as the “most Portuguese in Portugal”. This carnival maintains the traditions of the Portuguese festival, with a parade of creatively decorated streetcars satirizing society and politics, and where the locals are always the real stars of the festival.
Also not to be missed in this region are the traditional carnivals at Alcobaça, Nazaré and
There are many bank holidays in Lisbon.
1st of January - Almost everything is closed including many stores.
Carnival (thuesday) - Lisbon doesn't have any special celebration for Carnival. However in the nearby towns of Torres Vedras and Sesimbra there are many carnivals. The night in Torres Vedras is a bit crazy.
Friday before easter - No special event in Lisbon. Some monuments are closed but the majority is open. Malls will be open.
Easter Sunday - Museums/monuments are closed. Malls are open.
25th of April - Holiday to celebrate the end of the dictatorship in Portugal. Manly political ceremonies. Main monuments open and malls also.
1 of May - Labour day.Monuments closed. Malls open.
Body of Christ - variable date. No special event around Lisbon. Main monuments open.Malls open.
10 of June - Day of Portugal, Camões and the communities. Mainly political celebrations. Main monuments/museums open.
13 of June - Saint Anthony Day - the main party day in Lisbon. You have marchas populares a sort of carnival in Avenida da Liberdade and then people go to Alfama to party. Main monuments and malls open.
15 of August - Day dedicated to the elevation of the virgin Mary to god. Main monuments and malls open
5 of October - Implantation of the republic. Mainly a political event. Main monuments and malls open.
1 of November - Day of All Saints - People visit cemeteries in this day to remember the deceased ones. Main Monuments and Malls open.
1 of December - Celebrating the restauration of the Independence in 1640 after some years of rulling by Spain. Main monuments, museums and malls open.
8 of December - Imaculada Conceição - Day of the patron saint of Portugal. Most museums, monuments and malls open.
25 of December - Almost everything is closed. Some malls might be open.
If you want to use busses, metro, trams or the Santa Justa elevador, it will be much cheaper to buy a "7 Colinas card" you can buy it on Metro stations or in the small ticket houses. It costs about 4-5 euros for one day and you can fill it op again and save 0,50 Euro by doing so. It can be bought for one or several days. With a price of 1.30 Euros on board ticket, you don`t have to drive around that much before it is much cheaper.
When we had finished our tour of Castelo de Sao Jorge, we wound our way back down to the Praca do Comercio area by taking several small winding streets facing toward the Tejo River. As we passed close to the Se (Cathedral), one of whose towers is sticking up in the photo, I was very pleased to come across a nice display of purple Jacaranda trees!
Although this tree, which can grow to about 10 m (33 ft) in height, is native to South and Central America, it is now widely used the world over as an ornamental tree in dry tropical climates. Thr brilliant blue-violet colour of its flowers has always impressed me since I first saw them lining the streets of Luanshya, Zambia many years ago when I lived there! I always think of those good old days when I see them now! These trees grow at many locations in Lisbon and, in fact, lined the streets only a block away from our hotel in Saldanha.
By the way, the Se was first constructed in 1150 but has been rebuilt and repaired several times due to earthquake damage, including the severe one of 1755.
Lisbon downtown has lots of beggars and venderores that sell sun glaces, drugs and other stuff. This is not typical from Portugal or Lisbon! These people are not portuguese: they're gypsy and romenian immigrants who come to Lisbon to fool portuguese and foreigners. Don't think this is common, but be aware, because they can really fool you.
No visit to Lisbon would be complete without a ride on one of these famous yellow trams. If you're simply interested in riding for the sake of a ride, try the #28 which will give you a great, cheap tour of the city.
The trams are a part of the charm of the city and give it a somewhat old-fashioned feel. As you walk around, you're sure to hear the scraping sounds of the tram as it approaches. Traveling is about all of the senses and the sights and sounds that a tram offers up will be remembered long after you leave Lisbon.
Buy a Lisboa card.
This card will give you free public transport and free entrance to many musea. Some attractions offer a discount on this card.
More info on where to buy and where you can use it on the website:
There are two magazines which detail 'What's On' in Lisbon. The first is Follow Me which gives a very detailed list for the following two week period. The second is Lisboa Invites which gives a month by month guide to the major events planned for the next year.
Lisbon has many small enterprises present on major streets and squares, weather permittent.
Plastification of documents is one of the businesses.
A map of Lisbon comes in handy, when wandering around.
This map is from the Lisbon Pages, where you can find a lot of info on the city. The Lisbon pages can be found at the website.